Mary Ellen Fortini

 Number of Years in Research Administration: 15

Institutions: Santa Clara University, Public Health Institute, Keene State College


Mary-Ellen Fortini, Ph.D. is currently the Senior Director of Sponsored Projects at Santa Clara University.  She is responsible for the administration, management and oversight of all sponsored project functions.  This includes the pre-award functions of searching for funding opportunities, proposal development, and submission; the negotiation and acceptance of awards; training and onboarding of faculty new to sponsored projects; and the post-award functions of grants accounting, subaward monitoring,  post-award compliance, and preparation for and completion of audits and desk reviews.  


She began her career as a Principal Investigator at a private research center with little institutional support pre-award and a requirement to understand all compliance issues.  After more than a decade serving as PI and Project Director on grants and cooperative agreements ranging from a few thousand dollars to many millions, Mary-Ellen accepted a position at Keene State College to create and direct an Office of Sponsored Projects, a one person pre-award office.  This position required that she learn all the ins and outs of research administration at a small public PUI.  She took this expertise in a slightly different direction in research administration by moving to California and becoming a Pre-Award Manager at Public Health Institute, a non-profit organization that received nearly all its $100M of revenue from sponsored projects.  Now back in academia, Mary-Ellen now directs a 5 person Sponsored Projects Office that supports faculty and staff both pre- and post-award, works closely with other campus offices such as Human Resources, University Finance Office, and .  


Mary-Ellen has given numerous national, regional and local presentations and workshops at NCURA and SRA International conferences and has been a volunteer with NCURA serving on nominating and program committees at the regional level.  She has served as a member and currently serves as the co-chair of the NCURA Pre-Award Research Administration Community Working Group.

NCURA Peer Program engagements are priced as a flat fee, scaled to the sponsored programs total active award dollars in the last fiscal year, regardless of type of Peer Program engagement.